By Kintaro Skinner
After draining a deep game-winning three-pointer against the Alberta Pandas in the first game of the Darcel Wright Memorial Classic, guard Hayley Robertson had another chance with the ball in her hands in a late-game situation on Oct. 20.
This time it was in the championship game versus the University of Saskatchewan Huskies at the Mattamy Athletic Centre.
“We were down by two, and maybe there was 30 to 40 seconds left, I thought we definitely could’ve got a better look, we got a switch off the screen, we only needed a two [pointer], and I took a long three,” said Robertson.
“If I could take that possession back, I would’ve attacked deeper and tried to get a two [pointer],” added Robertson.
On the ensuing possession, Ryerson intentionally fouled to stop the clock, still down by two points. And luckily, they caught a break, as Huskies guard Libby Epoch made only one of two free throws giving the Huskies a three-point lead.
With a chance to tie, the ball fell into the hands of Rams forward Stefanija Mrvaljevic who could only launch a prayer from half-court that was short.
Saskatchewan took the championship game by a score of 54-51 in the extremely competitive matchup. Both teams also appeared in the U SPORTS Final 8 tournament last March where the Rams finished in fifth and the Huskies in fourth place.
Head coaches of both teams Carly Clarke and Lisa Thomaidis were also together last month with Team Canada at the FIBA AmeriCup, winning a silver medal.
“We played them a lot and had a ton of close matchups with them, we got a lot of respect for each other and we both love to play and compete against each other,” said Clarke.
The win for the Huskies puts their all-time record versus the Rams at 5-1.
In other news, Rams third-year guard Marin Scotten, who had to sit out the first two games of the tournament with an injury, came off the bench and played nine minutes.
In what was a physical game from the jump, it had a real playoff feel throughout. Bodies were constantly hitting the floor to gain possession of loose balls.
“That’s something we’re priding ourselves on, the compete level and the ability to play and battle for 40 minutes. It’s a great foundation for us to take into the rest of the season,” said Clarke.
Ryerson made a huge effort in the rebounding department, chasing after every single miss that bounced off the rim. Mrvaljevic was persistent all afternoon, ending the game with a career-high 10 rebounds.
“We know that [Saskatchewan] is a really big team and even with me in at [power forward] we’re a little undersized so I made a special effort to get a body on the box-outs,” said Mrvaljevic.
“It’s something we’ve been struggling with in the tournament so I just made an effort to get ‘em.”
It was the Rams first preseason loss, as they conclude exhibition play with a 6-1 record.
UP NEXT: The Rams begin their regular season play on Oct. 24 against the York Lions at the MAC. Tip-off is set for 6:00 p.m.